Off Prompt Corner at the Melbourne Little Theatre
Off Prompt Corner at the Melbourne Little Theatre during a production of 'George Washington Slept Here', 1953. Featuring (left to right): Charles Murray, Peter Batey, unidentified man, Fay Parsons, Bunney Brook and Irene Mitchell backstage at the Melbourne Little Theatre, 1953.
The photograph was donated to the Performing Arts Collection, the Arts Centre, Melbourne by Charles Murray in 1997
This photograph captures visually the excitement backstage during a performance. Such close physical proximity also helps to build a family atmosphere in the theatre.
Actor-director Irene Mitchell was an important figure in Melbourne's theatrical circles for over 40 years. She was artistic director of St Martin's/Little Theatre and provided a role model for a generation of Melbourne actors.
'Miss Mitchell' often referred to her protégés as 'my children' , and provided them with support and encouragement in both their professional and private lives. Two of the Victorian Arts Centre's early visionaries, George Fairfax and designer John Truscott, both trained under the maternal eye of Irene Mitchell. She also actively encouraged her charges to gain broader experience and exposure to alternative theatrical traditions by working overseas.
At the same time, she was welcoming performers arriving from Britain during the 1950s and 1960s to the St Martin's family. Miss Mitchell was a dedicated supporter of the Performing Arts Collection, heading up the Voluntary Guild from 1977, and passing on a lifetime's knowledge of theatre to the new staff.